As you know we had The Economist Crossword Book Award held Last month in Mumbai where the winners in various categories of Fiction, Non Fiction, Translation & Popular were announced.
This week we got chatty with our Fiction Winner, Anuradha Roy who has beautifully penned the book ‘The Folded Earth’. This is her second book, her first book was ‘An Atlas Of Impossible Longing’ was published in 2008.
Anuradha resides from a small town Ranikhet in North India. She holds a degree from Cambridge and also has been a journalist. Away from the sight and sounds of city life she loves spending hours cooking, walking her Dog Biscoot across the forest and hilly areas of Ranikhet. With lower cell phone coverage’s, slower internet speeds and limited access to post, she enjoys her quiet, slow and semi urban/rural life.
Her first book has also been previously Shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award
Along with her husband, Anuradha runs Publishing Company Permanent Black which publishes books on South Asian history, politics and environment studies.
Small towns hold a myriad of untold stories and unexpected inspirations which at times go unheard and unseen by city folks.We have met a lot of authors who have migrated to a life in small towns and have shun their self away from fast lives and are completely immersed in writing and literature
Read more to know more about Ms Roy..
1. This year the list of fiction nominees had previous winners, booker nominees. What were your sentiments when your name was announced as the winner of the Fiction Award?
I felt like the wildcard entrant at Wimbledon who came out of nowhere and won the championship.
2. When and why did you decide to move into the small town of Ranikhet ?
My husband and I moved to Ranikhet in 2001, when we started our own publishing house. We both prefer living where there are forests and hills and we both like the slower rhythms of small town living.
3. Does the place inspire your writing as well, as your previous books talk a story evolving in small town in North India?
Place is as crucial to the narrative as the characters in both my novels. In both books the places are physically small, but the worlds and histories they contain are anything but small.
4. A Day in the life of Anuradha Roy?
It’s just the usual kind of day. Only instead of commuting to the office I walk in the forest; instead of buses and cars the roads have foxes and martens; instead of writing up presentations and strategies I write stories. And I design the books Permanent Black publishes.
5. Favorite Authors
I have no favourite authors. I get obsessed with particular writers and try to read every scrap they’ve written over a few months, and then move on to someone else.
6. Favorite Musicians
On some days it’s Dire Straits or K.D. Lang, on others it might be Ustad Abdul Karim Khan or Schubert.
7. Your current read
I’m reading Penelope Fitzgerald, a British writer I had never read before. Her novel, The Bookshop, starts out tongue-in-cheek and light but ends like a Greek tragedy in which all the grandeur has been peeled away to create something very bleak, offering no comfort at all.
8. Your most quirky habits.
It’s not a habit, it’s a disability of a kind – I can’t tell left from right so I get lost even in cities I’ve known for years and I can’t read maps.
9. You have also been long listed for the DSC and Man Asia Booker prize. Your sentiments on the same
A lot of people draw up their reading lists from these longlists and shortlists so I’m happy when my book gets nominated for a prize. It means the book will get more widely read and known.
10. Your views on how has Indian writing evolved in India. Do you feel that there is an outburst in Indian fiction writing?
I feel as if everyone I know is writing a novel. There are new authors and new books everyday. The biggest change has been the huge growth in commercial fiction so that now there are many kinds of novels being written in English in India– ranging from pulp to crime thrillers to literary fiction.
11. And is English Literature dying in India and is it replaced by Mass Fiction writing?
No, I think they have completely different readerships.
12. Anything in the pipeline for a 3rd book.
Nothing yet worth talking about.
About ‘The Folded Earth’
In a remote town in the Himalaya, Maya tries to put behind her a time of great sorrow. By day she teaches in a school and at night she types up drafts of a magnum opus by her landlord, a relic of princely India known to all as Diwan Sahib. Her bond with the eccentric scholar and her friendship with a village girl, Charu, seem to offer her the chance of a new life in Ranikhet, where lush hills meet clear skies. As Maya finds out, no refuge is remote or small enough. The world she has come to love, where people are connected with nature, is endangered by the town’s new administration. The impending elections are hijacked by powerful outsiders who sow division and threaten the future of her school. Charu begins to behave strangely, and Maya soon understands that a new boy in the neighbourhood may be responsible for changes in her friend. When Diwan Sahib’s nephew arrives to set up his trekking company on their estate, she is drawn to him despite herself, but his disappearances into the mountains evoke painful echoes of the past. By turns poetic, elegiac and comic, The Folded Earth is a many-layered and powerful narrative about characters struggling with their pasts – a novel that poignantly reveals the strange shapes that India’s religious and social conflicts can assume even on distant mountain tops.
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs 350
Here is the Link of Anuradha Roy’s speech when she won the Fiction award.
Signing Off for Now..
Until Next Time Geeks.